When my husband first approached me with the idea of getting a dehumidifier, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how the little device I used when my girls were babies was going to help make my house feel more comfortable. After a couple of odd looks while listening to me ramble on, my husband patted me on the head and told me I was pretty. (Did mention one of the reasons I married him for his quick wit and sarcasm?) He then informed me that what I had used for my kids was a humidifier, which is the complete opposite of what he was talking about.
Since I obviously didn’t have a clue about dehumidifiers, I decided this would be the one new thing I learned this week. So I let my husband explain a few things to me and I also took the internet to do some research.
Dehumidifiers pull moisture out of the air. Each type of machine has its own way of doing this, but I’m going to tell you the basics. For the most part, dehumidifiers pull air from a room and push it over a much colder coil. When that warmer air meets that cold coil, it creates condensation which then drips into a collection bucket. The air, now carrying less moisture, is pushed back into the room.
I’m sure you’re thinking that this is all well and fine, but who cares if the air is dry or moist? Trust me when I say the answer is you do. When humidity is high, or the air carrying a high percentage of moisture, it feels heavy and muggy. Its harder to breathe and sweat starts dripping off our bodies in consistent little streams. This is because sweating is our bodies’ natural cooling system. When we get hot, we sweat. That sweat then evaporates and takes the heat with it. However, in warmer climates with high humidity, like say here in sunny Florida, sweat doesn’t evaporate as quickly therefore our bodies don’t cool down as quick either. And that just makes for a miserable feeling.
In addition to making you uncomfortable, excessive humidity in the home can also damage fabrics, warp woods and cause health problems. Mold and mildew love moist environments. Think about your shower and how quickly mildew will appear if you don’t clean it. The same thing can happen all over your house if the humidity is high enough. Dust mites enjoy humidity too. And for allergy sufferers, the particles left by dust mites are menacing.
Dehumidifiers can control the amount of humidity in the air and keep it at a level where it is more comfortable for us as well as intolerable for dust mites and mold spores. Most sites I looked at recommended between 45% and 50% percent humidity. Not to mention, dry air is easier to cool than moist air so the AC isn’t working as hard to keep the temperature down.
So when the temperatures shot up this past week and the tropical breeze flowing inland from the Gulf of Mexico didn’t perform its blissful magic of cooling me down, I broke down and told my husband to buy one. He quite gladly picked one out and brought home. Within a few hours, I could already tell a difference. The air felt lighter and I could breath deeper and easier. The next morning I woke up feeling refreshed and without the usual headache that plagues my waking moments. I also realized I had slept better than I had in a long while.
Who would have known that all these benefits could have come out of one little machine. My suggestion is if you are feeling humid and muggy and the AC just isn’t cutting it, go online and do little research about dehumidifiers. The size and kind you need may vary for different rooms and houses, but for me it was definitely worth it.